This week I came across a great new app that elegantly combines the seemingly competing drives of self-interest and social good. In essence Oreoco allows individuals to align their lives with their personal values, and then track them to compete with peers to earn rewards.
Oreoco is focused on sustainability. It lets you make a profile and automatically connect through Mint.com to all your financial transactions, set goals for personal climate impacts that link to various aspects of your life, and evaluate your consumer decisions with regard to societal and health indicators. Users can also compare their decisions and footprint with other people in the real world or on social networks and on the way earn rewards and perks in a social game
The site also provide useful tips that incentivize participation including the following (see below) as well as an insightful blog that provides a deeper dive into the data behind different sustainability efforts. Here are some that jumped out to me:
– Becoming a vegan will reduce climate change emissions by ~3 tons and save you over $600 per year.
– Replacing standard light bulbs with CFLs and LEDs can save you 1 ton of CO2 and over $100 per year.
– Turning down your winter thermostat 5° can save ⅓ of a ton of CO2 and over $75 per year.
– Keeping your tires properly inflated and changing air filters can save ~1 ton CO2 and $200 per year.
– Turning up your summer thermostat 5° can save ⅓ of a ton of CO2 and over $50 per year.
– Switching off the lights when you leave the room can save 1 ton of CO2 and over $100 per year.
– Eating meat just one less day per week saves ~¼ ton of CO2 and ~$100 per year.
The convenience of an app married with the fulfillment that comes from making a contribution while earning personal rewards is an elegant and instructive example of how to rally consumers to play their part is large scale social change. As Ian Monroe, Oroeco’s CEO and cofounder explains:
“There’s a tremendous amount of data out there about which choices are more sustainable; the problem is this knowledge is mostly sitting in databases controlled by high-priced consultants, academic researchers, and industry…This impact information hasn’t been getting out to the rest of us. At the same time, advancements with mobile technology, social gaming, and online banking mean that we can now combine impact and financial data into a real-time sustainability tracking tool that’s social and fun.”
It’s this combination of the mobility of an app, the insights of Big Data and gamication between peers that makes this app so exciting and a powerful example of what’s possible when technology is enlisted in the service of positive change.